Re Teo Jun Kiat, Evan (alias Zhang Junjie)

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeEdmund Leow JC
Judgment Date23 October 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] SGHC 274
Citation[2015] SGHC 274
Docket NumberAdmission of Advocates and Solicitors No 197 of 2015 (HC/Summons No 1927 of 2015)
Published date30 October 2015
Hearing Date29 May 2015,21 May 2015
Plaintiff CounselNicholas Jeyaraj s/o Narayanan (Nicholas & Tan Partnership LLP)
Defendant CounselJeyendran Jeyapal and Ang Ming Sheng Terence,Christopher Daniel and Aw Sze Min
Subject MatterLegal Profession,Admission
Edmund Leow JC: Introduction

This application raised an interesting question of law as to how the court should exercise its discretion in an application under s 32(3) of the Legal Profession Act (Cap 161, 2009 Rev Ed) (“the Act”). The applicant, Mr Nicholas Jeyaraj s/o Narayanan (“Mr Jeyaraj”) had applied for an order permitting his practice trainee, Mr Teo Jun Kiat, Evan (Zhang Junjie) (“Mr Teo”), limited audience before the courts on behalf of Nicholas & Tan Partnership LLP (“the Firm”), that is, before a Judge of the High Court sitting in chambers, the Registrar of the Supreme Court, a District Judge, a Magistrate, or the Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the State Courts (“part-call application”). At the time of the part-call application, Mr Teo was serving his practice training period but had yet to undertake Part B of the Singapore Bar Examinations (“Part B Examinations”).

Before me, the Law Society of Singapore (“the Law Society”) and the Attorney-General (“AG”) objected to the part-call application. They submitted that permitting a practice trainee who has not completed Part B (ie, completed the preparatory course leading up to the Part B Examinations (“Part B Course”) and passed the Part B Examinations) to be part-called was not appropriate. The Singapore Institute of Legal Education (“SILE”) did not object to this application. The issue to be decided in this case was whether a practice trainee should be permitted to be part-called subject to his or her completion of the Part B Course and passing the Part B Examinations.

Facts

Mr Teo’s situation was somewhat unusual. Mr Teo had completed the final examinations of his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Sydney on 23 November 2013. Given the timing of his return to Singapore upon completion of his studies, he chose to commence his relevant legal training (“RLT”) with Selvam LLC on 2 January 2014 and completed it six months later. This was an unusual situation; graduates from overseas universities, such as those graduating from universities in the United Kingdom, would usually only undertake their RLT after completing the Part A Examinations. This was because the timing of their graduation was likely to be in June, which used to be just prior to the commencement of the preparatory course leading up to the Part A Examinations (“Part A Course”).

Upon completing the Part A Course, the National University of Singapore certified on 24 December 2014 that Mr Teo had passed the Part A Examinations. By then, he had commenced his practice training contract with the Firm on 4 December 2014 and received approval from SILE in February 2015 on the manner in which he was to serve his practice training period. By 30 January 2015, Mr Teo’s name had also been entered into the register of qualified persons maintained by SILE. Thus, prior to commencing his practice training contract with the Firm on 4 December 2014, Mr Teo did not have the opportunity to undergo the Part B Course or the Part B Examinations. This part-call application was filed about four months after Mr Teo had commenced his practice training contract.

For the purposes of this application, Mr Teo listed out the details of his practical legal experience garnered over the years. This included attending pre-trial conferences, criminal sentencing hearings, a civil trial in the State Court, and attending an appeal against a summary judgment before a Judge in chambers during his vacation internships in the years of 2011 and 2012. In addition, during his RLT, he also attended a hearing involving an application for a worldwide Mareva injunction, and an application for pre-action discovery. Lastly, during his training contract with the Firm, he attended a 10-day criminal trial in the State Court and assisted in a striking-out application. The applicant also claimed that, as an Australian graduate, Mr Teo had the benefit of undertaking mandatory studies in the area of civil procedure, criminal procedure, and professional ethics, which overlapped with subjects in the Part B Course, and he was thus equipped with a basic understanding on these subjects. References were also made to Mr Teo’s commendable grades obtained in his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Sydney.

The applicant’s submissions

The applicant submitted that s 32(3) of the Act contains certain mandatory requirements, but does not include an...

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1 books & journal articles
  • Legal Profession
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2015, December 2015
    • 1 December 2015
    ...turned down by at least two local senior counsels and three local large law firms. Part-call application 21.13 In Re Teo Jun Kiat, Evan[2015] SGHC 274 (‘Teo Jun Kiat’), the applicant applied for an order under s 32(3) of the LPA that his practice trainee be granted a limited audience before......

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